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Bailey Braseth: A Journalism Legacy at Ole Miss

Many in Mobile, Alabama are viewing news on WKRG-TV brought to them, in part, by an Ole Miss graduate, Bailey Braseth.

Bailey Braseth, who is the new director in charge of 6 p.m. news for the WKRG-TV station, is a well-known name to many who worked at the Student Media Center since he was the director of the NewsWatch99 at the Student Media Center (SMC).

However, many who worked at the SMC well before his undergraduate years remember him well, especially those who knew his parents: Connie and Ralph Braseth.

Ralph Braseth said, “We would have to be considered an Ole Miss broadcast family. Connie was a professional DJ, I was a professional TV reporter and anchor. That poor kid didn’t have a chance. His love of cameras started when he was three years old. He didn’t want his picture taken, he wanted instead to take pictures of his cats.”

Connie Braseth, who is the assistant general manager at the Oxford University Club, said, “As a kid, his dad was the director of the Student Media Center so growing up he spent a lot of time just hanging out there. As much as I’d like to take credit for his knowledge in shooting, directing, editing, producing, et cetera, I really can’t. His dad was largely responsible for nurturing his interests in that regard. Ralph is no pushover so he expected the same results from Bailey, even as a kid, as he would from one of his college students. Fortunately for Bailey, he was ready to deliver.”

Both of his parents instilled an affinity for journalism into Bailey as he spent some of his childhood at the SMC in the Bishop Hall on the university campus.

Ralph Braseth was a journalism professor and the director of the Student Media Center at the University of Mississippi. “My work required that I often work evenings and late evenings.” Ralph said, “I took Bailey up (to Student Media Center) because I had 60 built-in babysitters that charged nothing. One night he’d be with the Daily Mississippian, other nights at the radio or TV station. The students not only watched him, but taught him.”

Bailey Braseth said, “My best memories from the SMC were when I was a little kid running around and hanging out with the students from the DM and NewsWatch. I even started my own paper called ‘The Bailey Mississippian.'”

Before many students figured out what their major would be at the University of Mississippi, Bailey was already honing his video-shooting skills while working for the Ole Miss Athletics as a high-schooler. When Bailey was 16, he started working as a utility for the network crews when they came into town for football and basketball games.

Bailey was hooked into the video production. “I started freelancing for a company called Total Production Services operating (the) camera, and from there I moved into the control room as a graphics producer and eventually into a technical director (and) director role.”

Connie said, “Bailey has always been one of those guys that just has a great work ethic. I guess he realized at a young age that his parents weren’t going to throw money at him so he decided he needed to get to work.”

When Bailey graduated high school, his mother saw it as a “natural move” for him to get a journalism degree at the University of Mississippi. His father remarked that Bailey’s selection of Ole Miss “was the best possible choice.”

He said, “I initially was hoping Bailey would go away for school because he had been in Oxford all his life. However, selecting Ole Miss was the best possible choice. It’s remarkable just how many opportunities Bailey had along the way. I didn’t think I would react in such a manner, but I wept the day Bailey told me he had finished his last exam. How could I not be proud. I poured my heart into Ole Miss for 20 years.”

Bailey wowed not only his parents and his employees but also his professors at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

Debora Wenger, one of his professors, said, “Bailey was one of those students who actually didn’t seem to realize how good he was. I remember his very first project for my advanced TV reporting class gave me goosebumps — my own personal measure of a well- produced story. He’s very talented behind the camera, but he always resisted using his own voice in his stories; however, he’s actually a great narrator and I tried to convince him he needs to do it more often.”

While taking classes at the UM, Bailey went full circle as he worked as the director of the NewsWatch99 at the Student Media Center where he had played as a child. His experience from Total Production Services helped him execute the requirements as the director of NewsWatch99.

“With all the experience he had up until that point, the only position he would really want to have at Newswatch would be the director,” Connie said, “He wanted to learn as much as possible and I suspect he thought the director position would provide that for him.”

In addition to his life’s worth of experience from shooting video as a teen to directing the student-led broadcast show at the university, Bailey took on “two great internships” at the CBS in New York and ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut.

He also thanked one more person who helped influence future success in his journalism career: “Along with the two internships, my work with my mentor David Dillard, owner of Total Production Services is where I gained most of my experience. I cannot thank David enough for taking a chance on me when I was 16 years old.”

Ralph remembered Bailey’s start in video production: “Bailey has been making money in TV since he was a teenager. He learned his craft shooting and charging his friends for skateboard videos. Now he’s stepping out and it’s time for me to completely stand aside. He’s in for an adventure and as a father is natural is worry, but I suspect he’ll do fine. He has an advantage, he’s wanted to do this for most of his life.”

Now Bailey will put all that he learned from his childhood days at the SMC to shooting videos for his skateboarding friends to working for Total Production Services to his invaluable experience from directing the NewsWatch99 into his director position at WKRG-TV in Mobile, Alabama.

Callie Daniels Bryant is the senior managing editor for HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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